State Economist Warns of Financial Loss as Oregon Population Drops for the First Time in 30 Years

Financial Loss: According to the most recent national estimates, Oregon’s population is declining as the number of deaths exceeds the number of births and fewer individuals relocate to Oregon from other states. The early estimates that were provided Thursday by the United States Census Bureau are causing concern among state economists.

State Economist Warns of Financial Loss as Oregon Population Drops

According to Josh Lehner, an economist at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, “There is not even a single glimmer of hope in the numbers.” From the point of view of demographics and population, “I am significantly more pessimistic right now than I have been in the previous two and a half years.”

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Over 16,000 persons left the state of Oregon between July 2021 and July 2022, representing a decline in the population of 0.4% compared to the previous year. Since 1983, this is the first time that the state of Oregon has experienced a population decline. In that year, the state saw a population decline of 0.4%, following a population decline of 0.1% in the previous year, 1982.

State Economist Warns of Financial Loss as Oregon Population Drops for the First Time in 30 Years
State Economist Warns of Financial Loss as Oregon Population Drops for the First Time in 30 Years

It would indicate that fewer individuals are relocating to Oregon, which is the cause of the dip in 2022. Since the number of deaths in Oregon typically exceeds the number of births, the state has relied on migration to increase its population statistics. However, as compared to the previous year, this year Oregon experienced a negative net domestic migration of 17,000 persons, which indicates that 17,000 more people left Oregon than entered here.

For Oregon residents who are sick of having to compete with people from other states for jobs and housing, this may come across as welcome news. But according to Lehner, Oregon needs this expansion not only to bolster the state’s existing industries but also to boost the state’s tax revenues and hence increase funding for essential public services like transportation, roads, public health, and education.

It also indicates that Oregon economists may need to severely reassess the math in their economic predictions, which are used by legislators to get an estimate of how much money they can spend on public programs in the years ahead.

The most recent statewide estimate, which was published in November, anticipated a positive net migration of 33,757 in 2022; nevertheless, this prediction was far off from the actual outcome. Additionally, it computed state revenues based on a total population of 4.3 million people, which is approximately 54,000 more people than the current estimates provided by the census.

According to Lehner, the cost of housing being affordable could be one reason that is contributing to Oregon’s dwindling population.

“We have terrible housing affordability, but it hadn’t yet been a huge driver of the [population] trends โ€” unlike, say, our neighbors to the south in California, where they’ve been losing lower-income households and middle-income households for quite some time,” the author writes. “Unlike in California, where we’ve been losing lower-income households and middle-income households for quite some time.”

According to Lehner, it is too early to know whether Oregon will follow the way of California in terms of losing low- and middle-income households to places that have more cheap housing. However, it is possible that Oregon may go this route. He stated that he is looking forward to seeing the results for 2023, as well as more in-depth data surveys that may bring some illumination regarding the pattern.

In addition to Oregon, the population of 17 other states fell, with the majority of those states being in the Northeast. When compared to the previous year, New York’s population shrunk by the greatest amount, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage, falling by 0.9%.

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Only Oregon, California, and New Mexico will have population decreases in 2022, making them the only western states to do so. Although there was only a marginal rise in population in Washington and Nevada, the most substantial expansion occurred further inland: Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Arizona all look to have significant population growth.

The population of the southern states, particularly Texas and Florida, is growing at a faster rate than that of any other region in the US.

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